Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's Gotta Be the Shoes, Part 2

            Back in April I wrote a piece about how the shoes you wear are the single most important part of any runner’s world.  I had switched from Brooks to Mizuno and been repeatedly dealing with nagging injuries.  Only when I switched back to Brooks at the beginning of April did I begin to see improvement in how I ran and how I felt.  From April to now I have run six races including my first marathon.  That was all well and good but I was still dealing with nagging pains in my feet that seemed to hold me back.  But I had switched to the correct shoes, right?  Wrong.
            My friend Emily had mentioned a running store in Plymouth, Bayside Runner, which had a unique way of fitting you for shoes.  They actually recorded you running on a treadmill and assessed what type of shoe you needed from what they saw.  I knew I had to at least give this place a shot.
            I wore my current pair of Brooks Adrenaline to the store as a reference for the employees.  Since it was my first time there they needed to measure my feet.  I mentioned I was a 9 1/2.  I was shocked when they measured me and suggested a 10.  The man told me it’s wiser for running shoes to be a little larger than too tight.  It seemed like a really simple concept.  Suddenly I was remembering how many times my feet, toes, and heels hurt during and after running.  Could my shoes being too tight have been the reason?
            I remembered nearly everytime I ran I would have some pain on top of my feet followed by red skin near where the shoes would be tied.  I also remembered during one of my marathon training runs my entire right foot lost feeling because of pressure on one of the blood vessels.  I guess in the moment I believed that it must have just been from overtraining.  Like I said in April, it’s all about the shoes.
            So I had been running in tight shoes for nearly 2 years which blew my mind.  Next I had to get on the treadmill and run.  They set the camera up behind me and started recording once I had been in my stride for a minute or so.  Once I was done they put my running film on a television screen.  Frame by frame the man helping me showed me what my feet did and explained just what each movement meant.  I was in for another surprise when it came to my shoes.
            I had been running in, and enjoying, my Brooks Adrenaline.  The man explained that they are stability shoes and that judging by my stride and gait I did not need stability shoes.  He said I needed a neutral shoe to 'let your feet do what they do.'  So I had been running in shoes that were too tight and gave the wrong support for my stride?  How was I even able to run at all?  I started thinking that this was probably the major cause of all my aches and pains I had been dealing with.
            I tried on several pairs of shoes but stuck with my preferred brand, Brooks.  I switched from the Adrenaline to the Defyance, a neutral shoe in the proper size.  I had felt really good and proud of all I had done running in the past 20 months.  Now I am full of excitement wondering what I might be able to do with the right shoes in my arsenal.  It all starts tomorrow with my first run in my new shoes.  
           Have any of you been fitted for shoes in this manner?  Having your stride filmed?  Maybe this is common and I’m new to the game.  Have any of you run in tight shoes?  What effect did they have on you?